One of my goals for the month of July is to read two career development books. I just finished “Nice Girls Still Don’t get the Corner Office” and have moved on to “Leave your Mark“. As a whole I really wasn’t sure what to expect from “Nice Girls Still Don’t get the Corner Office” (the revised/updated version of “Nice Girls Don’t get the Corner Office”); I just haven’t read many books in this category!
The book was structured as 133 tips for women in the workplace, with each tip serving as a “mini chapter”. The tips were separated into sub categories “How You Play the Game”, “How You Act”, “How You Think”, “How You Brand and Market Yourself”, “How You Sound”, “How You Look” and “How You Respond”. The author, Lois P. Frankel is a psychologist who works as a career coach/counselor and utilizes her years of experience working with women as a reference for the book. The emphasis of the book isn’t placed on not being “nice” as the title may imply at face value but rather on not acting like “helpless little girls” in the workplace and rather as the empowered adult women we are!
Overall the book was informative and I would recommend any early twenty-something girl pick it up and give it a quick read/skim. Some of the tips were more applicable to me than others, for instance I definitely need to work on asserting myself and not making statements as weak questions but I’m not concerned about gossiping, grooming in public, wearing inappropriate makeup or treating my boss as a father figure. I read the book in its entirety but for anyone with time constraints you could easily skip around to the chapters you feel most apply to you and the book would still completely make sense.
My biggest “issue” with the book was less with about the book and more about society as a whole. The author does state that she is NOT writing tips for how she wants women to have to behave in the workplace but rather how to thrive given how the workplace currently is. Basically there are a lot of gender inequalities in the workplace and the author doesn’t necessarily try to fight those but rather shows readers how to climb the corporate ladder despite gender inequality. For me this aspect of the book kept upsetting me. There was a chapter on wearing makeup and it essentially encouraged women to start wearing makeup even if they don’t already because women are expected to look put together and in society that means wearing makeup. For me this tip though completely valid was a major source of contention. I wear makeup, I like makeup but I do not believe it is in any way a woman’s obligation to wear makeup. It upsets me that woman must put time and energy into her makeup to be taken seriously at work when men are not asked to do the same thing. Essentially the author did a good job of addressing the reality of the world but that doesn’t change that my idealist nature has a few issues with the way the world works.
I found the most informative tips revolved around assertiveness and straight forward communication. I have a tendency to frame my ideas as questions (bad), second guess my opinion (also bad), ramble when I should be concise (bad bad bad) and apologize about every little thing (potentially the worst). The book really opened my eyes to how weak and “girl-ish” (therefore immature and unprofessional) I probably sound. Being assertive doesn’t mean being impolite, it means speaking with confidence which I think we can all agree is vital for success.
I’m excited to finish “Leave your Mark” and hopefully compare the two books (not that it’s a competition). I usually read fiction so it has been thought provoking to switch it up with a few career development books.
Have you read any fantastic career development books? Do you have any suggestions for me?